Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On What Constitutes Good Liturgy

It's simple, really:

 "Good liturgy is when they're closer to Christ on the way out than they were when they walked in the door." -Msgr. Moroney (41:20)


  1. That's part of it, but not the whole, and I think it is dangerous to think this is the only standard by which liturgy ought to be judged. In addition to bringing those assisting closer to Christ, it's important that the liturgy be done in such a way that it may be pleasing to God to the best of the celebrant's and other ministers' capacities. There are many details within the liturgy that will go completely unnoticed by the congregation (especially in the case of mass celebrated ad orientem) that are good because they are giving due dignity to God (such as observation of the canonical digits between the consecration and the ablutions).

  2. Of course it's not the whole. This was in context of a lecture to priests on ars celebrandi (another post from the same lecture is coming later), which captures the spirit of many of the things you just said. (You would like Msgr. as a speaker, I promise!)

    But I do think it's a helpful central tenet to keep in mind. Of course our context is following the liturgical directives the Church has given us. But good liturgy isn't necessarily smells and bells or fantastic music but a congregation genuinely immersed in prayer.

  3. Of course; it needs both. But that crucial piece of context you provided changes everything. The mass is for our benefit, not God's. And of course, the more of ourselves we give to God, especially through our service to the liturgy of the church, the more graces we will get back in return.

    The smells and bells are important, not in and of themselves, but because they seek to give glory to God *and* orient men to Christ.

    That's not to say that there aren't times where I'd rather just experience the meditative silence of a low mass, but the details in that sort of thing matter just as much.

  4. I'll be sure to include better context the next time I get swept up in the excitement of a good speaker. :)


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